Email News From Haiti
Here's an excerpt from the first email we received from Benite Juene, our projects founder/administrator, right after the earthquake struck.
"It was 4:53 when I was getting ready to attend a conference at 5PM with a professor. Suddenly, I heard a great noise and a big shaking. I run to open the door to go outside. I stand in front of the door and a voice told me not to open it and I went to hide under the desks in the room and in seconds the heavy concrete ceiling fell down. Dust, breathing hard, thinking about my family, my wife, my little Daisie, I could hear the others crying already for help. It reminds me instantly about what had happened 2 years ago when a school collapsed in Port-au-Prince 2 years ago where children stayed there for 2, 3 days under the rubble. I thought that It was going to be the same happening to me.
Instantly, I began to say that I am not going to die now. I found a crack of about 14 inches high between two concrete beams (concrete beam of the floor that I was on and the beam of the ceiling under which I was) and I scrolled myself out and jumped about 20 feet from the first floor. I am alive but I am still under shock, traumatized when I still see myself laughing with the person behind me and in front of me a few seconds before the event. I am still wondering why I am still alive ? How could I be here still?
Schools Not Likely To Reopen
While the government of Haiti recognizes the urgency of reopening schools to provide some form of structure as many face the challenge of moving forward with their lives, their efforts have failed.
According to reports from both Haitian and United Nations education officials, over 3,000 schools have been affected by the Haiti earthquake and could remain closed for months or never reopen at all. The quake gutted the educational system of the capital itself, a very centralized area of the country.
A Faulty System
Long before the earthquake, Haiti has suffered from a dysfunctional system, where only 2 percent of the gross domestic product is spent on education.
A very small percentage of schools were public, and the rest were too expensive for the poor to access. The public schools still required families to pay for uniforms, textbooks and supplies.
The Good News From Haiti
The children at the Haiti orphanage in Vignier that we are supporting, are fortunate to have strong leaders who recognize the urgent need to get the children back to school.
Photo © Benite Jeune
Temporary canopied classroom.
Their news is encouraging to all of us who have donated and who will continue to support their efforts. Benite Jeune, the Pastor and over seer of this large Haitian school, has seen that temporary canopies have been erected to be used as classrooms. Some students are taking classes inside the church itself.
Others Not As FortunateFor many other thousands of children who are not as fortunate, the news from Haiti is alarming and discouraging.
Instead of going to school, they work the city streets scavenging for supplies that they might be able to sell as they struggle to survive.
Many families have been forced to live in tent camps where the safety of the children is jeopardized. Health workers in these camps report rising numbers of young rape victims, some as young as 12 years of age. The entire structure of their lives has been affected.
We Can HelpWe are helping change the lives of Haitian children. The school children are equipped with new books in their temporary classroom as a result of funds we sent.
Pastor Benite writes in his recent email: "I just wanted to show you a little bit how we manage to have school. We built a couple canopies and we are in the process of building more for we still holding classes inside the church which I do not like but the Lord is faithful, He has begun and He will finish what He had started.
Attached are pictures of the books bought for the students and more would be given to them. Thank you for your support and your endeavor to be a blessing to Haiti. Blessings, Benite"
Photo © Benite Jeune
New school books purchased with donations from The Julia Project
January 2011 UpdateWe have extended further support to the work at R.I.S.E. Haiti International (formerly called Changing Lives Ministries Int).
Be sure to read about our
Haiti Mission Trip
to Pastor Jeune's project in October 2010 for more news from Haiti.
January 2012 Update
Unicef's latest report
marks the two year update after the Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2012, and brings us some good news from Haiti.
It is estimated that 1/2 million are still in tent cities, and some of them are being moved to upgraded plywood housing.
While one half of the debris has been removed, we are reminded that for many who lived in dire poverty prior to the earthquake, moving to the camps was a better alternative.
Many schools have reopened, but only 1/2 of the eligible students are attending, where they receive their only meal of the day.
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